LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Circus tigers back in Britain as Thomas Chipperfield joins Peter Jolly's Circus

Tiger, backstage at Jolly's Circus

When Martin Lacey retired from the big cat cage and closed his Great British Circus at the end of last year, I thought it was the last we'd see of lions and tigers under a British big top, especially with a government ban on wild animals in the circus proposed for 2015.

But, having mentioned Thomas Chipperfield's Circus Lion Training Video Diary in a recent post, I'm pleased to report that Chipperfield and his big cat act is currently appearing in the UK with Peter Jolly's Circus.

For this information, I'm grateful to Astley's Legacy, a blog dedicated to arguing the case for animals in circus and countering the claims of animal rights groups who oppose their use.

Philip Astley
The father of
modern circus
Astley's Legacy is an apt name, reminding us that the circus originated with animal acts - the horses of its founding father, the trick rider Philip Astley. The shape and still standard size of the circus ring was determined by Astley as the optimum space to bring his horses to a gallop and create the centrifrugal force that let him stand on their backs. If you're interested in the rights and wrongs of animals in the sawdust circle, I recommend you take a look at the blog, and also search for Chipperfield's lion training videos on YouTube.

Most of all, though, if Jolly's Circus is in your area, I urge you to go along, watch the performance, visit the animals back stage, perhaps grab the chance to ask Chipperfield any questions you have, and make up your mind for yourself.

It was doing just that, in the case of Lacey and his tigers, that helped me to question my previous instinctively held opposition to the use of performing animals and led me to write about the subject in Circus Mania - The Ultimate Book for Anyone Who Dreamed of Running Away with the Circus.

Click here to buy Circus Mania - the book the Mail on Sunday called "A brilliant account of a vanishing art form."

Click here to see my pictures of Thomas Chipperfield's big cats backstage at Peter Jolly's Circus. and click here to read my review of Peter Jolly's Circus.

See also my previous posts:
Training Circus Animals - Humane or pain?
Interview with Martin Lacey.
The Elephant in the Room.

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